Michigan Car Accident Laws, Settlements and Lawyers

Michigan Car Accident Laws, Settlements and Lawyers

Michigan can be considered to be a two-faced state: On the one hand, Michigan is home to the Great Lakes, beautiful forests, and awe-inspiring lighthouses. On the other hand, however, Michigan used to be the center of the American automotive industry. Cities like Ann Arbor and Traverse City might appeal to those looking for this calmer, gentler side of Michigan Cities like Detroit were once home to large manufacturing plants and housed the headquarters of automotive giants. Some are hoping that this more industrial side of Michigan would experience a renaissance and become the booming business center it once was.

Michigan is a large state, and about 9.9 million people live and work within its boundaries (according to a 2013 census). Despite its size, the large population of drivers that resides in Michigan coupled with travelers who visit Michigan for one reason or another increases the risk that you or a loved one might be injured in a car crash when driving in or through Michigan.

Car Crashes in Michigan

The Michigan State Police maintain records on the number and types of crashes that occur each year within the state and makes these records available to the public to show the nature of the danger posed by driving in Michigan. For America’s ninth most populated state, the number of car crashes is correspondingly high. In particular, for 2015 the Michigan State Police report that:

  • There were 8.26 million registered vehicles;
  • There were 297,023 crashes, about the same number as there were in 2014;
  • Of that number, 74,157 involved at least one personal injury; 4,865 involved a serious injury to at least one individual;
  • There were 893 fatal crashes that killed a total of 963 people (i.e., in a number of fatal crashes more than one individual was killed);
  • Alcohol alone was a factor in 271 of the 893 fatal crashes;
  • About 52.5 percent of the people who were killed in fatal car crashes were wearing a seatbelt or other restraint at the time of the crash.

Many of Michigan’s injury and fatal collisions can be avoided. Because most accidents are the result of careless behavior on the part of one or more involved parties, it stands to reason that more care and consideration would lessen the risk of a car crash. Drivers or passengers who engage in careless behavior (distracted driving, drunk driving, causing a disturbance in the car, etc.) that contributes to a crash may find themselves being held responsible for the harm they cause.

Michigan is a “No Fault” Insurance State

Michigan requires drivers to maintain an adequate “no fault” insurance policy to help offset the costs associated with an injury or fatal car crash. The policy is referred to as a “no fault” policy because the insurance company will pay the claim of its insured client following a car wreck without regard to who actually caused the car crash. If there are multiple involved parties, each party’s insurance carrier pays for that person’s own expenses and losses, up to the limits of the policy.

The ability to file a lawsuit and seek compensation from the party who caused a car crash is more limited in “no fault” states. There may be an ability to file a lawsuit in cases where the crash was caused not by mere negligence or carelessness but rather by deliberate conduct or conduct that is gross and flagrant in nature. Where such a lawsuit may be permitted in Michigan, any fault the injury victim bears for causing the crash can result in his or her compensation award being lowered proportionately.

How Long Do I Have to File a Car Crash Lawsuit in Michigan?

If you have the ability and legal right to file a lawsuit based upon a Michigan car crash, such lawsuit would need to be filed within three years of the date of the accident. This is contained in Michigan’s statute of limitations, Mich. Comp Laws Sec. 600.5805(9). Failing to comply with the statute of limitations is sufficient grounds for your injury lawsuit to be thrown out of court without the court ever considering the merits of your claims. While there are a few exceptions to the statute of limitations, these exceptions apply in very narrow circumstances. For this reason, injury victims should speak with an experienced car crash lawyer as soon as possible following a car crash in order to ascertain the nature of their legal rights, learn the various ways they may be able to recover compensation, and decide on the path that is best for them before the three-year deadline passes.

Experienced Assistance Can Help Car Crash Injury Victims

If you or a loved one have been injured in a Michigan car accident and need representation and counsel, call Stern Law, PLLC at (844) 808-7529.

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